Archive for the ‘relationships’ Tag

Fall Open Mic Night at the MSU Writing Center   Leave a comment

Microphones

The Mics are OPEN!!!!!

 

Last night I attended my first open mic reading with my husband since we moved to Michigan in September. It took place at the MSU Writing Center in Bessey Hall, on the Michigan State University campus.

 

We had been invited to attend by members of our writers’ workshop at the East Lansing Library. The group is also sponsored by the MSU Writing Center, and meets every other Thursday. We were happy to see that, as with the writers’ workshop, we weren’t the oldest people in the room at the Open Mic. The performers included several poets, some musicians, and a story teller or two. There was free pizza and drinks for everyone, and each person that got up to read received a t shirt. There was also a raffle drawing throughout the night. I won a 25 dollar gift card to Schuler Books in Okemos, which was a pleasant surprise.

 

The students were very open and welcoming to two old timers like us. There was a poet who went by the name Logic, about our age, who seemed to be a regular in local writing circles, who had a rapid fire delivery and had everyone laughing and shaking their heads at the way he would spin truth into poetry.

 

Overall, it was a good night out, and the perfect way to start November, fresh and inspired and ready to take on that novel I’ve been attempting to write for a year and a half. It’s been sitting dormant for about six months, so it’s time to get writing again!

 

How are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Any great open mics or writers’ workshops in your area? I’d love to hear about them!

 

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Everyday Poets September 2012   1 comment

New interrobang tattoo

Interrobang tattooed on the arm of a fellow punctuation lover. (Photo credit: Emily Lewis)

Last week I talked about my recent move to Michigan. The reason for the move was because my new husband, the short story writer Gavin Broom, had gotten a job with a subsidiary of his company in that state. Gav and I have been friends for many years, both belonging to the same online writers’ workshop. A native of Scotland, he visited the US in August 2011, and we were able to meet face to face for the first time.

The attraction, which had been building gradually via email, text message, and Facebook, blossomed into a full-blown relationship.  Five transatlantic flights later, we decided our carbon footprint had grown wide enough, and he proposed in the baggage claim of Logan International Airport in Boston.

My poem in Everyday Poets on September 28th, Interrobang, deconstructs our relationship. It speaks of the questions that are brought up when one marries for the second, or even third, time. How two people used to having their own way come together as one, forging new ways of arranging a living room, folding clothes, raising children.

An interrobang is a unique form of punctuation, which is used for something that is both a question and an exclamation. I thought it summed up perfectly the feelings one has right before a move, a wedding. That feeling of excitement, with so many possibilities ahead of you that you feel the need to question every one. It’s the first form of punctuation that I’ve ever written a poem around, though I have challenged myself to write more.

To read the poem, follow this link, feel free to rate it and leave a comment!

http://www.everydaypoets.com/interrobang-by-helen-r-peterson/

Everyday Poets 2011   Leave a comment

 

Child 1

Children, flexible in all kinds of ways!  (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

 

As anyone who has read my latest book, Melons and Memory will tell you, my role as a mother is at the very center of my being. More than my roles as a poet, librarian, sister, daughter, wife or friend, I am identified by others as being the mother of my daughter and two sons. The first thought on waking and the last fading off to sleep is how can I improve the lives of my children every day. It’s led to some easy decisions, and to others that were not so easy.

 

 

 

One of those tough decisions was made after my daughter was born. I had suffered from HELPP syndrome, and had had to have an emergency c section as my liver and kidneys began to shut down. She was fine, the healthiest and heaviest of the three, but in the process of giving her life, I almost lost mine. At that point I made the painful decision to have a tubal ligation. While I was still pretty young, I had had three children, I had my girl. The potential for more children was too great a risk to the well being of the children I already had.

 

 

 

Three years later, it’s a decision I’m comfortable with. I see my friends in their pregnancies, hold their infants, and that desire to have another one is no longer there. But in the beginning, it was very difficult to wrap my head around such a permanent decision. So, as I do with all the bumps in my road, I ironed it out with writing.

 

 

 

The poem, “Closing Down the Baby Factory”, was so good, Everyday Poets published it last year, and I’m so glad they did. While the beauty and joys of motherhood are so prevalent in poetry as to almost be cliché, the topic of choosing to let motherhood go rarely gets the airplay it deserves, in poetry or the mainstream media. It’s important that every woman can find herself somewhere in the arts. One of the goals I’ve set for myself in my writing career is to give them that through my own experiences, no matter how sensitive or graphic it might be.

 

A Few Lines Magazine 2012   Leave a comment

 

Refridgerator with character

Who knows what lurks in the fridge? 

 

 

 

 

 

There are times when the influence of the poets that have come before you become very apparent in your work. You write a poem or a story, and you can see Emily Dickinson or Wallace Stevens or Robert Frost in there, somewhere. In my poem, To My Recent Ex, recently published by A Few Lines Magazine, there is a glimmer of William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say”.

 

 

 

There are two very different camps when it comes to the interpretation of Williams’ poem. Some believe it to be a simple and moving look into a loving relationship. The other camp, where I stand, sees the chill and formality within it. Forgiveness is not asked, it is demanded. Ending with the word cold implies, to me, a chilly relationship, where communication is handled solely by notes left on the fridge.

 

 

 

My poem was written at a time when my soon to be ex-husband and I were communicating in like manner, though with us it was texting, we no longer shared a fridge. The isolation in Williams’ poem resonated with me, and I wanted to take it farther, more graphic, more cynical.

 

 

 

And so, instead of sweet fruit, the persona in my poem eats a bowl of spaghetti past its prime instead. The results are stomach turning, in more ways than one.

 

 

 

You can read my poem, and the other great poetry in Issue IV of a Few Lines, by following this link here to the pdf:

 

 

 

http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/4016299/vol1iss4-pdf-may-22-2012-12-13-am-1-4-meg?da=y&dnad=y

 

The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature   Leave a comment

Agape

Agape (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 

In April, Dead Mule published my poem Agape. This is the third poem in the Love triad with Phileo and Eros, both published in February by The Legendary.

 

While an overtly religious poem, I believe Agape offers hope for everyone. It was written, as were the other two, for the friend turned briefly lover, reminding him in the darkest hour of the hope he’d found in the renewal of his own faith, and to keep trudging ahead, no matter the dips in the road.

 

But I find, especially at this time in my life, that I too need this reminder on a daily basis. No matter what life throws at you, there is hope somewhere. Nothing is all bad, you cling to the good to pull you out.

 

My belief in Christ has never let me down, no matter what the circumstances. May you find something in your own life to hold on to and give you peace just as well.

 

http://www.deadmule.com/poetry/2012/04/helen-peterson-agape-a-poem/

The Legendary 2012   Leave a comment

The Legendary 2012

On a number of occasions over the years, I’ve been honored to be included in the pages of The Legendary, edited by the sassy Katie Moore. This year, in February, she published my poems Eros and Phileo.

Both poems take their titles from two of the three aspects of love as defined by the ancient Greeks. Eros is romantic, physical love, and phileo is fraternal love, it’s why we say Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love. There is a third poem in this series, called Agape, on the last aspect of love, but Katie passed on this one and it was published instead by Dead Mule in April, but that’s for another blog post in a couple of weeks.

I wrote these poems towards the end of a brief relationship. After my divorce, I began to date an old friend, someone I had met 18 years ago in high school, and there were times where it was difficult to separate the 33 year old man from the 16 year old boy in the band room.

Writing these poems made me realize that what both of us were looking for was a return to the innocence we’d lost over the years, and the relationship ended soon after. This is one of the advantages of being a poet. Writing gives clarity to the reality that inspires the writing.

To read Eros and Phileo, as well as everything else of mine that the Legendary has ever published, visit their archives here:

http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/helenpeterson.html

Word Riot   Leave a comment

Campfire flames

Image via Wikipedia

To read the poem, On Building a Campfire, click here

Word Riot is one of those places I’ve tried long and hard to get published in, and this little poem, written while camping out this summer, was the key to opening this market up to me.

If you’ve ever gone camping with me, you’ll know fire building is a skill of mine I’m willing to show off. I prefer campfires to wood stove and fireplace fires, the ability to walk around them, 180 degrees, makes it easier to build, and control. This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned a well built campfire in a poem, if you’ve followed my work for awhile you might remember the poem One of the Boys, published in 2009 at Tonopah Review. But even a well built fire has its drawbacks, and while Boys gloried in the fire, Campfire sheds a little light on those drawbacks, and makes it a metaphor for other drawbacks we find in life.

A poem written shortly after my husband filed for divorce, it isn’t very hopeful in it’s outlook. But it is beautiful in its misery, and something I can look back on months later and glory in how far I personally have come.

Today, in your writing, look for a metaphor in something you do so well, you don’t give it much thought any more. Perhaps I’ll read it in Word Riot one day.